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Amazon Fire TV Preview

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV


  • Product Name: Fire TV
  • Manufacturer: Amazon
  • Review Date: June 06, 2014 06:00
  • MSRP: $99
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Size: 4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7" (115 mm x 115 mm x 17.5 mm)

Weight: 9.9 oz (281 grams)

SOC Platform: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8064

Processor: Qualcomm Krait 300, quad-core to 1.7 Ghz

GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 320

Storage: 8 GB internal

Memory: 2 GB LPDDR2 @ 533 MHZ

Wi-Fi Connectivity: Dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi (MIMO) for faster streaming and fewer dropped connections than standard Wi-Fi. Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks that use the 802.11a/b/g/n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.0 with support for the following profiles: HID, HFP 1.6, SPP

Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content


  • 5.5 mm DC Jack
  • Type A HDMI 1.4b output, w/HDCP
  • Optical Audio (TOSLINK)
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB 2.0 Type A

Audio: Support for Dolby Digital Plus, 5.1 surround sound, 2ch Stereo and HDMI audio pass through up to 7.1

Content Formats Supported: Video: H.263, H.264, MPEG4-SP, VC1
Audio: AAC, AC-3, E-AC-3, HE-A, PCM, MP3
Photo: JPG, PNG

Output Resolution Supported: 720p and 1080p up to 60fps

System Requirements: High-definition television, HDMI cable

TV Compatibility: Compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz, including popular models from these manufacturers: Hitachi, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, NEC, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, Westinghouse

Warranty and Service: 1-year Limited Warranty and service included. Use of Fire TV is subject to the terms found here.

Regional Support: Certain services may not be available outside the U.S.

Included in the Box:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire TV remote
  • 2 AAA batteries
  • Power Adapter
  • Quick Start Guide


If there were two features that the AV industry was trying to convince us that we needed in the last few years, they were 3D and streaming. With major manufacturers like Vizio dropping it, 3D seems to be going the way of the dodo. Streaming, on the other hand, has stubbornly stuck around, picking up more and more users as companies like Netflix and Amazon add more attractive content and original shows. 

If you look at Amazon's track record on original devices, only the Kindle stands out as a real innovator. When released, there was really nothing else like it on the market. Later, the Kindle Fire was more a reaction to the iPad and their streaming service was a reaction to Netflix. This in no way takes away from the quality of their offerings. The Kindle Fire has been remarkably successful and their streaming service has a number of original shows plus has scored exclusives with the likes of 24, Downton Abbey, and Justified.

Until now, Amazon has been content to allow 3rd party devices access to their Amazon Prime streaming. With the release of the Amazon Fire TV, you can add their own dedicated streaming box to the mix. It gives users access to all the normal streaming services including Netflix and Hulu, along with audio only services like Tune In and Pandora. The only major services that are missing are HBO GO which is currently only available on Roku's offering, Vudu, and Spotify on the audio side.



The Amazon Fire TV has an HDMI output as well as an optical digital audio out. USB and a wired Ethernet connection are on board as well. It brags much better specs than the competition. With a quad-core processor and 2 gigs of memory, it easily outperforms the Roku 3 and Apple TV. The Amazon Fire TV has a dual-band/dual-antenna (MIMO) Wi-Fi radio which matches the industry leading Roku 3. Amazon has included something they call ASAP (Advanced Streaming and Prediction) that learns, over time, what movies and shows you like and pre-queues them for you reducing the wait between the time you press 'play' and when the show starts. Coming soon is Amazon's "FreeTime" functionality. This allows you to create custom profiles for your kids, restricting their access to shows you approve. It also allows you to set daily streaming limits on these accounts.

Like just about every other offering, the Amazon Fire TV can output 1080p. According to Amazon, it is the only box that is Certified Dolby Digital Plus surround sound. One of the more interesting features of the Amazon Fire TV is the voice search. By pressing a button on the remote, you can say the name of the show you want to watch, and it will find it for you. Currently, this seems to work only with Amazon Prime content (CNET reports that searching for a show that is free on Netflix will only bring up paid downloads on Amazon Prime).


It is powered by AA batteries - no rechargeable option as of yet

If there is an aspect of the Amazon Fire TV that sets it apart from the competition it is the ability to play games. The Amazon Fire TV comes with access to over 100 games including the insanely popular Minecraft. With Amazon's App store for Android devices, you can bet that their claim of "1000's more to come" is spot on. Some games, including Minecraft, require the Amazon Fire Game Controller, a $40 add-on. Taken as a whole, the $140 purchase (or $180 if there are multiplayer games in the works) certainly is less than one of the next-gen (or previous-gen) gaming consoles, but don't expect the graphics of the Xbox One or PS4. The ability to play games likely explains why the Amazon Fire TV has 2 gigs of memory and 8 gigs of storage plus the additional processing power. Amazon may tout these specs as making their box better than others, but instead we'd consider it a byproduct of wanting it to play games and shouldn't really affect how well it streams content.


The Amazon Fire TV is very competitively priced at $100 though it doesn't undercut anyone. Roku and Apple TV are the same price and the streaming sticks from Roku and Google are considerably less. If all you want is streaming, you can pay less. If you want the ability to play games (and have an extra $40 to spend for the controller), the Amazon Fire TV is for you.

For more information, please visit www.amazon.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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